Darling Do Not Fear by Brett Dennen – Song of the Day

When I arrived in my old set of clothes
I was half a world away from my home
and I was hunted by the wolves
and I was heckled by the crows;
Darlin’ do not fear what you don’t really know.

Following in the vein of yesterday’s upbeat musical words of encouragement, today I wanted to share another of song that always puts me in a better mood: Brett Dennen‘s “Darling Do Not Fear.” I found this album shortly after I moved to Los Angeles ten years ago. I didn’t know anyone when I moved here, and that first year was sometimes pretty lonely. Also, I literally had an old set of clothes: the things people wore in West Virginia were pretty different from the things people wear in Los Angeles. Dennen uses so few words to describe the feeling of leaving home and arriving someplace where people can see you don’t yet belong.

This song always made me feel better then; when it comes on shuffle these days, it still does. I particularly like the line toward the end where Dennen sings “and sometimes it take more than a lifetime to know.” It’s such a gentle way to remind people to stop worrying so much.

I ended up becoming a big fan of Brett Dennen. The week of the Prop 8 decision, I saw him at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. When his set was over, I headed out into the streets, which were full of protesters. I always wondered if he found his way out there to join us as well; it seems like the kind of social justice-y thing where he might feel right at home. (Perhaps this is because in some ways it seems reasonable to think of him as a red-headed Tracy Chapman.)

In looking for a video of the song to link, I found some folks on Youtube discussing whether the riff was lifted from Paul Simon’s 1991 concert version of “Cecelia.” I have a couple of thoughts about this, the first being, wow, that’s very specific.

I checked out the video of the performance, and I hear the similarity, but I think it’s pretty plausible that Dennen came up with that riff independently. But also, stealing riffs either consciously or subconsciously is pretty common, and there are worse people to steal from than Paul Simon.

brett dennen photo

Brett Dennen. Photo by starbright31

Buy the album on Amazon or listen on Spotify
[amazon text=Amazon&template=mp3 clips&asin=B000ZJKU0G]

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